CINCINNATI (WKRC) - When life handed Payton Obert, 9, lemons, she made something special.
She started a lemonade stand three years ago, not to get some money for herself but to raise funds to buy toys for kids at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
“When I was a patient at Cincinnati Children's, I got a special toy that I still can't sleep without today so I want to give other kids facing hardships that connection with their toy too,” Payton said.
Her stuffed teddy bear, appropriately named Teddy, inspired the mission which has now turned into a movement.
In the first year, the lemonade stand raised $700. In its’ second year, just over $7,000. The lemonade stand returned with pandemic restrictions in 2020 to raise $35,000 with help from nine franchise lemonade stands.
The goals are even bigger this year as Payton’s dream to help kids turns into a nonprofit: Payton’s Lemonade Stand.
“With that status, we hope to reach even further than the walls of CCHMC to help more kids in the community who are facing personal, economic and medical hardships,” said Jess Obert, Payton’s mom and the Executive Director of Payton’s Lemonade Stand.
There are also more families involved this year. From the West Side to West Chester and Northern Kentucky, there will be 27 lemonade stands on Saturday, run by kids for kids.
“That's how we've gotten all these stands over the last few years,” Mike Obert, Payton’s dad and the Executive Director and Treasurer for Payton’s Lemonade Stand, said. “It's not parents reaching out to us saying ‘hey, we want to host this stand.’ It's ‘we told our kids and showed them the story about what you guys did and what Payton did and what Presley did and they want to host a stand.’”
“That is the beauty in all of it, honestly, seeing all of these kids feel inspired and they themselves want to give back to kids in the community who are facing hardships,” Jess said.
Payton’s Lemonade Stand has a host of sponsors. The team at Matthew 25: Ministries helped the Obert family with the creation of the nonprofit. While CCHMC helps kids from across the country as they get treatment in Cincinnati, the hope is that more sponsors and more donations will help expand Payton’s Lemonade Stand to more cities.
“I want it to keep growing into something bigger and bigger to help people,” Payton said.
“It's still hard to explain how it got so big so fast but I do think it's kind of just the mission behind it and the kids driving it all,” Mike said.
This year, you can also donate new, unopened toys to the stand.
You can donate to Payton’s Lemonade Stand, check out the locations that you can visit from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and find out how to host a stand in the future HERE.